Matt Kuchar has returned to form over the past few weeks, and at this week’s Masters tournament, the 42-year-old will be implementing a new strategy on the greens.
The American will put a Bettinardi BB8 Tri-Plane putter in play for the year’s opening major and will be using a right arm lock technique to conquer the Augusta greens.
Model: Bettinardi BB8 Tri-Plane
Face: F.I.T. Face
Kuchar, who has been testing an array of putters over the past few months, gets his Masters’ campaign underway at 12.48 PM ET.
GolfWRX Insider: Odyssey White Hot OG – “A good idea then is still a good idea now”
It started in the late ’90s as a random thought by Ely Callaway: How can we make an insert that has the sound and feel of a golf ball? Seems like a logical pursuit, considering the sound of the strike has as much influence over a player liking or disliking of equipment as anything else.
In the case of putters, it made a ton of sense to match the experience of the putter face to the feel of the golf ball. This led to the development of a new insert based on the Callaway Golf Ball at the time, the Rule 35.
The actual development process didn’t go through a ton of iterations—the recipe came together rather quickly. It was only the question of how to make them that posed the biggest work through.
From a performance standpoint, Odyssey was already on a serious roll with its Stronomic inserts. The soft, lightweight material gave R&D new ways to distribute weight (stability) across the putter head, and the impact experience was one most responded favorably to.
There was one catch, however, for better players, Stronomic inserts were too soft compared to the metal faces they were used to, and in addition, once you peeled back the onion a bit, it actually didn’t transfer energy as well as one would want. At that level, “softer” means “less roll out,” apples to apples, against metal.
Engineers asked: How can we replicate the feel but make it play firmer?
Enter the creation of the White Hot in 2000. In simple terms, “ball on ball” contact. The urethane blend gave Callaway the ability to create a face that was not only soft but also had the crispness of strike that milled steel faces had. The recipe was an instant hit on tour.
From the time it was introduced at the professional level across the globe, it saw immediate adoption. To be fair there was one element beyond the White Hot insert that cranked up the numbers a bit—the best-selling putter of all time, the 2-Ball. Nonetheless, White Hot hit the ground running and saw great success in year one and beyond with LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam being the first to really win big with her Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball in late 2001 and into 2002.
700 worldwide wins later, it’s easy to say Mr. Callaway’s instinct paid off.
If you have paid close attention to Odyssey over the years, you know White Hot has been the bedrock of future developments. The company has done impressive work in the insert game—the below timeline (courtesy of Odyssey) gives you a slice of the history.
2020-2021: Odyssey Introduces the White Hot OG
This brings us to today and the White Hot OG. We had the opportunity to chat with Senior Director of Product for Odyssey Luke Williams, and this is what he had to say about the return of White Hot.
GolfWRX: What inspired you to bring back White Hot, and why was now the best time?
LW: We decided to bring White Hot back because people kept asking for it. On tour, even though it was not an inline offering, it was still our most popular insert. Whenever we would launch a new putter or new insert, golfers would ask us about White Hot and tell us how much they love their White Hot. Finally, we just felt that it was time to give the people what they wanted. Based on the early reaction, we think the timing was perfect.
GolfWRX: How do you compare the feel/benefits of an insert like White Hot vs milled faces, etc?
LW: Relative to milled faces, White Hot is definitely softer and it has a more consistent sound and feel. In terms of ball speed, it is very similar to a milled face, so it is easy for players to adjust to in terms of how the ball rolls out.
GolfWRX: How has Stroke Lab technology enhanced the performance of the White Hot Insert?
LW: Stroke Lab is a significant enhancement to the White Hot OG line. Stroke Lab technology helps golfers by making their strokes more consistent from one to the next, and this new version is lighter, stiffer, and more stable than the original.
GolfWRX: We have to ask: Any plans to bringing back Tri Hot?
LW: I’d never say never!
The thing about White Hot we find the most fascinating is the loyalty to it by certain players over the years. Below are some pictures of a few Callaway staff and others that have lived and died with an Odyssey White Hot for a long time—all these putters are still in the bag, with the only exception being Phil Mickelson, who swaps between his WHXG and milled model.
Joe Toulon (yes, Sean’s son) is the man in charge of the tour, and this is what he had to say on the strong connection to the White Hot.
“Tour players still love White Hot, and when they first started testing OG the response was positive right away. We did a soft launch during the Fall season, and there were a few models that went into play right away. On the European Tour, there were eight in play the first week it was out there, and on the PGA Tour, we’ve seen a consistent increase in adoption. We still had a few players that were loyal to that insert, and we would do one-off putters for them so the momentum never really left.”
“Players just really trust the sound and feel, and they know what to expect with it on every putt. That’s so important to players of that caliber. Nostalgia and good memories in regards to equipment is still a powerful thing, and the White Hot insert is just one of those things that a ton of players had success with in the past so bringing it back in a big way was kind of a no brainer.”
There have been over 700 worldwide wins and over 100 PGA Tour wins to go with 48 majors. Check out this list of the major championships won with White Hot.
2002 Kraft Nabisco – Annika Sorenstam
2003 McDonalds LPGA – Annika Sorenstam
2004 McDonalds LPGA – Annika Sorenstam
2004 US Womens Open – Meg Mallon
2005 Kraft Nabisco – Annika Sorenstam
2006 U.S Women’s Open – Annika Sorenstam
2007 Kraft Nabisco – Morgan Pressel
2008 US Womens Open – In Bee Park
2009 Ricoh Womens British open – Ji-Yain Shin
2009 US Womens Open – Eun Hee Ji
2010 LPGA Champ – Christie Kerr
2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open – Ji Yai Shin
2014 Kraft Nabisco – Lexi Thompson
2015 KPMG Womens PGA – In Bee Park
2015 Ricoh Womens Britihs Open – In Bee Park
2016 ANA Inspiration Lydia Ko
2018 Ricoh Womens British Open – Georgia Halltonytoulon
PGA Tour Champions majors
2003 US Senior Open – Bruce Lietzke
2004 Senior British Open – Pete Oakley
2006 Jeld Wen Tradition – Eduardo Romero
2007 Senior British Open – Tom Watson
2008 US Senior Open – Eduardo Romero
2010 Senior British Open – Berhard Langer
2010 US Senior Open – Bernhard Langer
2011 Senior PGA – Tom Watson
2013 Senior PGA – Kouki Idoki
2014 Senior Players – Bernhard Langer
2014 Senior Open – Bernhard Langer
2015 Senior Players – Bernhard Langer
2016 Regions Tradition – Bernhard Langer
2016 Senior Players – Bernhard Langer
2016 US Senior Open – Gene Sauers
2017 Regions Tradition – Bernhard Langer
2017 Senior PGA – Bernhard Langer
2017 Senior Open – Bernhard Langer
2019 Regions Tradition – Steve Stricker
2019 US Senior Open – Steve Stricker
2019 Senior Open – Bernhard Langer
PGA Tour majors
2005 U.S. Open – Michael Campbell
2006 Masters – Phil Mickelson
2008 British Open – Padraig Harrington
2009 PGA Championship – YE Yang
2010 Masters – Phil Mickelson
2010 U.S. Open – Graeme McDowell
2011 PGA Championship – Keegan Bradley
2016 British Open – Henrik Stenson
2018 Masters – Patrick Reed
2019 British Open – Shane Lowry
It’s comforting to know that in all the buzz and chase for the next big thing, there are still things in our game that stand the test of time. A good thing then is still a good thing now. Great ideas in golf, like White Hot 2-Ball, have a long shelf life. With the direction the game is going as a whole and any potential tweaks the rule gods put in to play, these stubbornly good ideas will keep us going.
Justin Rose WITB 2021 Masters
Driver: TaylorMade M1 440 (2017) (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 70 TX
3-wood: TaylorMade M4 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 TX
5-wood: TaylorMade M6 (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange
Irons: Srixon ZX U (4), Mizuno MP-20 (5-PW), 1/2″ over length D3 Swing weight.
Shafts: KBS C-Taper 125 S+
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (52-12F), SM7 (56-08M), SM8 60-06K Proto
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper 125 S+ (52), KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 (56, 60)
Putter: Axis1 Rose Prototype
Ball: TaylorMade TP5 (2021)
Rory McIlroy WITB Masters 2021
Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (45.5 inches, 59.25 lie, D4)
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (15 degrees @13.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80 TX (43.25 inches, 58 lie, D4)
5-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (19 degrees @ 18.25)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 90 TX
Irons: TaylorMade P760 (3-4) P730 (5-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 7.0 (6.5 in PW)
Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52-09SB), MG2 TW (56 and 60)
Shaft: Project X Rifle 6.5
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: 2021 TaylorMade TP5x
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (58R 1+1, logo down)
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Justin Rose WITB 2021 Masters
Driver: TaylorMade M1 440 (2017) (9 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 70 TX 3-wood: TaylorMade M4 (15 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi...
Rory McIlroy WITB Masters 2021
Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 (9 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (45.5 inches, 59.25 lie, D4) 3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (15 degrees @13.5)...
Kevin Kisner WITB 2021 Masters
Driver: Callaway GBB (8.5 degrees @9.5) Shaft: Fujikura Motore X F1 6 X 3-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (15 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura...
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